'Never' Say Never

To a mainstream audience, Patti Smith is perhaps best known for her performances of other artists' songs, from Bruce Springsteen's "Because the Night" to Them's "Gloria."

To a mainstream audience, Patti Smith is perhaps best known for her performances of other artists' songs, from Bruce Springsteen's "Because the Night" to Them's "Gloria." This week, with the Columbia release "Twelve," she commits an entire album to reinterpretations of tracks like the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter," Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise," Neil Young's "Helpless" and Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants To Rule the World."

The project features guest appearances by Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, who has toured of late with the Patti Smith Group, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and the Black Crowes' Richard Robinson. Smith's children, Jackson and Jesse, also appear, as does playwright/actor Sam Shepard.

"It has been a real adventure doing these songs," Smith says. "I've always wanted to do a cover record, but I didn't think I had the range. But now, I feel really on the top of my game and ready to tackle a lot of different songs I thought had strong and relevant lyrics."